Padres: How Hot Should Andy Green’s Seat Be?
Padres manager Andy Green is learning that coaching staffs are always first in line for blame when a team in any sport underperforms. Sometimes it’s fair, but sometimes it’s not. There’s only so much they can do if the players aren’t performing. Are we to blame a coach for his guys’ mistakes and mental gaffes?
At least in basketball and football, coaches can implement tactics and schemes to help make the game easier or harder for their roster. And there are tons of examples where a coaching difference raised or held back a key player and his team’s play.
But in baseball, managers hardly have any control over player performance. It’s a different kind of sport. Managers can only do so much when it comes to winning, but they can surely hurt a squad. Thus, it’s their job to do what they can to help the team by putting them in the best situation possible and cross fingers that the guys perform.
Regarding Andy Green, you can’t 100% blame him for the Padres’ players underperforming, but you can argue that he hasn’t been doing all the things to help them win.
Hired after serving as Arizona’s 2015 third base coach, San Diego made the now 42-year-old one of the younger managers in the game. He was regarded as a well-spoken man with an aggressive mindset on-the-field that was well-versed in analytics.
His ability to relate to players and follow the new-age metrics was supposed to help usher in a new, progressive era of Padres baseball with the player development to complement it. However, things haven’t gone as planned. And now the question is, should he be on the hot seat?
After Monday’s win over the Dodgers, Green is 266-350 as manager of the Padres, with 2019’s .469 winning percentage his best thus far. And after entering the All-Star Break at 45-45, and just outside of the wild-card picture, San Diego has dropped 24 of 40 games, pushing them out of the playoff picture for good.
How much of this is on Andy Green, and how much is on the players? It’s hard to quantify. But, we do know that Green hasn’t helped his case.
Let’s start with his player relations and player development on offense. He can be a bit too friendly with the veterans like he was with Ian Kinsler back in April, but then turn around and call-out the younger players for whatever reason.
It appears that he favors the grinders and fringe-level players (Ian Kinsler, Austin Hedges, Greg Garcia, etc.) over the younger guys that need the playing time to develop. Whether it be because they remind him of himself as a player or the numbers he’s looking at say to, he’s wrong. Especially because the younger, more talented pieces are supposed to be key parts to the franchise’s future.
And it’s because of this where the player development has been lacking at the major league level. Yes, Fernando Tatís Jr. was excelling, but he’s a generational talent whose success has nothing to do with Green. Besides, an exception isn’t the rule.
Luis Urías was not getting consistent at-bats when he was initially with the team, and that can significantly hurt a player’s development- his numbers show that. Austin Hedges still can’t hit, but his partner behind-the-plate in Francisco Mejía can, but the rookie just started getting consistent at-bats.
And in regards to lineup construction, for a guy who’s supposed to be more progressive, he’s failed there as well. For starters, he’s mismanaged the two-hole, which should be occupied by your best, or one of your best hitters.
Instead, he’s given it to eight different guys throughout the season, including Josh Naylor and Manuel Margot who should be towards the bottom of the order at best. Wil Myers is another guy that’s been allowed to hit there, but he’s consistently being moved up-and-down the lineup and all over the field. And this type of inconsistency can hurt a player’s production.
On the other side of the diamond, young left-handers, Joey Lucchesi, and Eric Lauer have either stagnated or regressed after coming on as rookies in 2018, while Chris Paddack has been worn down as the season’s gone on- that last point isn’t on Green so much (although he left him in too long the last two outings).
He’s largely mismanaged the Padres’ bullpen, while showing an over-reliance on Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen, at times leaving them in too long and overworking them.
At 53 innings, Yates is on track to smash through his previous career-high of 63 innings and has a chance to top last year’s high of 1,047 pitches thrown. Stammen is third in baseball in relief appearances and on track to set a career-high in innings since becoming a full-time reliever back in 2011.
Both have been overused at times- from being stretched out multiple innings or throwing a large number of pitches in an appearance to then coming back the next time to do the same. And it’s been more rinse and repeat than you’d like to see.
Now, you can’t put all the blame of lackluster player development on Green, but it’s the job of the coaching staff to aid in that. Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. Their young prospects have gotten better after making the jump to the show, unlike many of the youngsters on San Diego.
Plus, when you are regarded as someone who connects well with players, that should be your specialty, no?
We should never call for somebody’s job, but as it stands, Andy Green’s seat as the manager of the San Diego Padres should be hot- let’s say 180 degrees Fahrenheit- with an increase in temperature every day until the end of the year. He simply hasn’t shown enough progress or promise. To the point where the scale is tipping towards relieving him of his duties after the season, which would be the boiling point at 212 degrees.
But if they were to let go of him, A.J. Preller should wait till after the season because mid-season firings, particularly this late into the year, doesn’t do anyone, any good.
Not only that, but for a team that is expected to contend for a playoff spot in 2020, why not wait and see if they can finish with some momentum to take into next year, and proceed from there? And a strong finish would not save Green’s security; it would be for team-building.
It’s been almost four seasons and he and his staff have shown a consistent ineptitude when it comes to player development, so what else do you need to see? It’s the area where the franchise has invested in the most, you can’t have it as a point of weakness.
And his old-fashioned, grinder mentality isn’t what you want in this new age of MLB. You need someone fresh, who’s able to help young players, and isn’t afraid to play the numbers to make decisions that stray from the pack. A manager who’s more progressive than Green has shown to be.
A leader who can be the face of the Padres’ exciting future by knowing how to handle a pitching staff better and most importantly, someone who can manage and help develop the younger players by embracing and blending with them.
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Featured Image via Flickr/Arturo Paradavila III